For local podcast producers, murder makes money

Nov 17, 2017

Take a look at a list of top podcasts today and one thing is very clear: murder is big.

Podcasts like “Dirty John,” “Someone Knows Something,” and a show from ABC News called “A Killing on the Cape,” often focus on the graphic details of murder. Currently, they rank higher on iTunes than shows like “Fresh Air,” “Radiolab” and “The Ted Radio Hour.”

Two Leland residents, Rebecca Reynolds and Jim Carpenter, are the producers of another murder podcast that’s big right now, “Hollywood and Crime.”

I asked them, what’s the obsession with murder?

"These crimes — they're adrenaline rushes," Rebecca says. "People like to be afraid. It's the same thing as getting on a roller coaster."

Rebecca and Jim have just released their second series in "Hollywood and Crime." It's called "Young Charlie" and centers around Charles Manson. The podcast goes back and forth from when Manson is younger, to 1969, when he tells his cult followers to kill numerous people.

Voice actors combined with narrators retell the events of the murder and they don’t spare any details.

"The bottom line is you want to witness this, you want to learn as much as you can about this," says Jim. "Because you don't want this to ever happen to you." 

Rebecca Reynolds and Jim Carpenter have spent time brainstorming about why people are fascinated with crime and murder.
Credit Dan Wanschura

Both Jim and Rebecca say reading and writing about the gruesome details of the murders doesn't really affect their personal lives. They just view it as another research project. And because there's continued demand for it, they're happy to oblige.

"I would love to do a cooking podcast, or something else," explains Rebecca. "But that's not where the jobs are for us right now."

But before you call Rebecca Reynolds and Jim Carpenter sellouts, catering to crowds with sensational murder stories — hang on. Jim says ultimately these are stories that need to be told.

"Part of our responsibility is to present the facts as we discovered them," he says. "This is all about understanding the way people tick — why they do what they do."